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If you are like most businesses you have many different profiles on many different online services and apps.  Some of these profiles you probably created yourself , some were created by previous owners or managers, some by the website from other sources and some may have been crowd-sourced and created by your customers.

Each of your profiles say something about your business, it is important that you are sure that this information is accurate and best represents your business.  It can be hard enough to get a consumer to see your profiles let alone them having a bad experience with inaccurate or incomplete information when they find you.

Your business profiles are also used by search engines to help determine if you are the business you say you are and build authority through citations. If your information (especially your business name, address or phone number) is inaccurate or inconsistent across your profiles then your business’s ability to rank in local search will suffer.

Every so often you should check your profiles and make sure you are happy with the information being displayed for your business.  Here are a few of the major areas to check on your profiles to ensure you are maximising the value of each profile and giving yourself every chance of being found by consumers and then chosen by them.

1. Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP)

It is extremely important that your Business Name, Address and Phone Number are as accurate and consistent as possible across all of your profiles.  This is because NAP consistency is one of the most important ranking factors for your business when it comes to local search.  If you are a local business then local search is extremely important.  If you can rank well for keywords that are for local businesses like yours in your area then you will see a big increase in traffic coming from the search engines as you may be able to make it onto page one for those keywords for free and you know that traffic is very targeted and likely to lead to business.

Being listed in the local pack on page one can also bring you more business as people know that this section of page one is a list of local businesses and they may look there first (rather than looking at organic results or advertisements).

2. Map Location

Most business profiles have a map location and you may assume that this is generated from your business address.  However, in a lot of cases the Map location or Geolocation of your business is stored as a separate data point and may be different to where your street address would suggest.

This map location is especially important as consumers will look at this map to determine where you are if they don’t recognise the address. ¬†An even bigger problem is the use of direction features that will likely send eager customers to the wrong location.

For each of your profiles look at the map pin location and make sure it is accurate enough to be either at the business or close enough that customers would see your business from that map location.

3. Business Categories

Proper categorisation of your business can be the difference between getting found or not.

There are 2 points to consider:

1. Are your business categories correct.

2. Are you taking advantage of all the categories that apply.

The biggest problem when your categorisation is wrong is consumers will not find your business when they search for businesses like yours.  When people do find you they may also disregard your profile if your categories are not correct.

Make sure you check each of your profiles and if the categories currently selected do not accurately describe your business then check to see if there are some more appropriate categories you can choose.  While you are doing this make sure you are included in as many categories as possible  that are relevant to your business as this will result in your business appearing in more search results and help to clarify what your business does.

4. Business Hours

Many web sites and especially apps now handle your business hours more intelligently then just displaying them in a list on the page.  Modern services aim to be as useful as possible and will tell you directly if a business is open right now or not or may not even show your business if the service believes you are closed.

You also don’t want consumers coming to your business when you are closed and wasting their time, they may just go straight to your nearest competitor that is open rather than wait until you are open.

There have even been examples of businesses that have lost considerable business because they were mistakenly marked as closed on weekends.

Check each of your profiles and make sure your business hours are accurate.  If your business hours are seasonal you should make a note to update your most important business profiles whenever your hours change.

5. Ratings

Ratings are becomingly incredibly important for many businesses and a material change in ratings on any of the major online services can have an affect on your bottom line.  You should check the ratings of your profiles as much as possible and make sure they are at least equal to your closest competitors if not higher.  If your ratings fall below your closest competitors then you will likely lose business to them when people are looking for businesses like yours.

If you feel your ratings are being manipulated by competitors or other parties try to contact the service or flag fraudulent reviews. Unfortunately in many cases there may not be much you can do. You should aim to provide a quality service and suggest to your customers that they rate or review you on important services such as Google My Business, Yelp  or any online service where you need to improve your rating.

6. Reviews

Similarly to your overall ratings you should be checking your reviews as often as possible and you should try to reply to as many as you can in as timely a manner as possible.  You should try to remain professional and reply as courteously as possible to both positive and negative reviews as these reviews and responses will be read by other prospective customers and peers and you want to remain professional and enhance the online reputation of your business.

These reviews are also very valuable feedback for you and your business and you should remain as impartial as possible and try to take the feedback on board where it is warranted.

7. Menus, Price Lists and Documents

Many websites allow you to upload Menus, Price Lists and Documents that allow consumers to learn more about your business.  This is a great way to give prospective customers a lot more information on your business than the website may allow.  You could include your latest brochure, an article you published in a magazine, or a story about your business.  However this information can quickly become dated and you can quickly forget which information is out there and on which profiles.

If you are not checking your menus and price lists periodically and updating them you will quickly find that you are showing consumers older price lists that will become outdated and contain items you no longer provide.

Make a note of each document you upload and to which sites and set a routine to periodically update them or to update them whenever you make changes.

8. Cuisine

If you are a restaurant setting the correct cuisine is extremely important.  Diners will search for certain types of restaurants and getting this right can make for a better experience when a diner finds you.  If your cuisine is set incorrectly then you will not be shown to diners when they are looking for a restaurant like yours.

There are many other bits of information that are also very important and you should check these as well to make sure your information is accurate Рespecially phone numbers, web addresses and links to social profiles.  You should also look at each of your profiles and make sure you have extracted as much value as possible by including things like photos, videos and anything else that will help your profile standout.

We make it easy for you to manage all your business profiles automatically and from one place, and we let you know where your data is inconsistent or can be improved.   Try our free version to see how myPresences helps you get more from online by building an amazing presence and reputation across all of the sites online where your customers will look for you.

Paul Gordon

Paul is the Founder of myPresence and is passionate about helping small businesses do better online by creating the best software tools possible.

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